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23 Feb 2020

23rd Feb 2020

              In view of the recent increase in the number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Korea, particularly in Daegu city and Cheongdo county, the Ministry of Health (MOH) advises travellers to avoid non-essential travel to Daegu and Cheongdo. MOH also reminds the public to continue to exercise caution when travelling to the rest of the Republic of Korea.

2.          As of 23 February 2020, 12pm, the Republic of Korea has reported 556 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection. These include 306 cases linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, and 114 from Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo. Five cases are currently not linked to any of the confirmed cases. Daegu and Cheongdo have been designated by the Republic of Korea government as “special care zones”, and measures have been put in place in these regions to reduce the risk of further transmission.

3.          In view of the heightened risk of transmission from travellers arriving from Daegu and Cheongdo, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce has assessed that it is prudent to take additional precautionary measures to limit the potential risk that travellers arriving from these affected regions pose to Singapore.

4.           From 23 February 2020, the definition of suspect cases will be expanded to include persons with pneumonia or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness who had been to Daegu and/or Cheongdo of the Republic of Korea, within 14 days before onset of symptoms.

5.            Since 29 January, all arriving passengers at Changi Airport have been subject to temperature screening. From 23 February, cases meeting the expanded definition above will be referred to hospitals for further assessment. Officers will also look out for such travellers with respiratory symptoms at the aerobridges for flights coming from South Korea and at immigration checks. Travellers with recent travel history to Daegu and Cheongdo will be asked to identify themselves.

6.           Health Advisory Notices will be issued to all travellers arriving at Changi Airport from South Korea to advise travellers on the precautionary measures to take when travelling to or arriving from the affected regions.

7.          The previously announced travel advisory for Singaporeans to defer all travel to Hubei Province and all non-essential travel to Mainland China remains in place.

8.          MOH will continue to monitor the situation closely. Once a case is confirmed, contact tracing will be initiated, and we will implement strict isolation, quarantine, and infection control and prevention measures to prevent further transmission.

Health Advisory

9.          All travellers should monitor their health closely for two weeks upon return to Singapore and seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell. Travellers should inform their doctor of their travel history. If they have a fever or respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath), they should wear a mask and call the clinic ahead of the visit.

10.         Travellers and members of the public should adopt the following precautions at all times:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness;
  • Observe good personal hygiene;
  • Practise frequent hand washing with soap (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing);
  • Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath;
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately; and
  • Seek medical attention promptly if you are feeling unwell.

     

11.          Given the evolving situation and ongoing investigations in the Republic of Korea, Singapore residents who need to travel to the affected areas are advised to regularly check MOH’s website (www.moh.gov.sg) for updates. Travellers to the Republic of Korea are also advised to stay vigilant, monitor developments and heed the advice of the local authorities while in the Republic of Korea.